The Best Oxford Circus Restaurants
Last Updated: 6th September 2019 | Main image: Sabor
You’re on Oxford Street. You’ve finished work, been shopping or lost your mind. It’s loud, it’s busy and you’re hungry. You’re at a crossroads (literally). If you don’t eat soon, that hunger will turn to hanger and you’ll become an aggy troll unable to communicate without being sated.
But relax, we’ve got you.
Darjeeling Express | Kingly Court
Darjeeling Express started life as a 12-person supper club at owner Asma Khan’s home, before gaining a pop up spot in The Sun and 13 Cantons and finally its queue-for-days-to-get-a-taste restaurant on the top floor of Kingly Court (which, incidentally, is full of great restaurants – find out more HERE).
The premise is simple: bold-flavoured, home-style Indian food served in a warm, friendly environment – and it delivers on all accounts. Try the Tangra chill garlic prawns (a dish from the Indo-Chinese cuisine of Calcutta); goat kosha mangsho (a slow-cooked Bengali curry); or the kail mirch saag keema (minced beef and spinach laced with dry chillies). READ MORE
Details: 2nd Floor, 6-8 Kingly St, W1B 5PW | Open Mon-Sat 12-3pm, 6-10pm
Bob Bob Ricard | Upper James Street
Ok – Bob Bob Ricard isn’t an everyday kind of place. Unless you find buttons labelled Press for Champagne deeply quotidian.
But for a special occasion, this impressively glitzy restaurant dressed in marble, cobalt blue booths and gold fittings – like a carriage of the Orient Express – will more than fit the bill.
An amuse-bouche of vodka shots (served at precisely -18c) and oysters arrive before Anglo-Russian dishes like truffled potato and mushroom vareniki (dumplings); chicken kievs; and a giant beef wellington for two to share.
And of course, copious amounts of Champagne. READ MORE
Details: 1 Upper James Street, W1F 9DF | Open daily for lunch and dinner, 365 days a year | Lunch pricing: dishes are around 20% cheaper at lunchtimes.
Sabor | Heddon Street
Headed up by the ex-chef and former general manager of Barrafina (another of London’s Spanish giants), Sabor is a tapas and asador restaurant that has rapidly earned itself a Michelin star.
Split into two seating areas, the counter on the ground floor serves a tapas menu fresh from the kitchen, which includes grilled quail, ajo blanco (chilled almond soup) and pomegranate; and braised oxtail with queen scallops.
Follow the spiral staircase upstairs to the mezzanine to experience a different menu that features some tapas (crisp pigs ear with quince alioli and hot paprika), but also bigger mains to share from the wood-fired oven, like Segovian suckling pig (also available half or whole for bigger parties) and txuleton gallego (48 day cured Galician rib of beef). And if you’re in a hurry, you can prop up the bar for a little jamon Iberico, which they’ll slice as you wait. READ MORE
Details: 35-37 Heddon Street, W1B 4BR | Open for lunch & dinner Mon-Sat, then 12.30-4pm Sundays
Polpo | Beak Street
This authentically styled bacaro (Venetian tapas bar) has become something of an institution. First opened in 2009 by Russell Norman, it now has venues across London and beyond. It almost single-handedly kickstarted London’s Campari craze – when it first opened, it sold more Campari and Aperol than the rest of the UK combined.
Split into clear sections, the menu offers cicheti (snacks) such as N’duja arancini and tuna & leek crostini; fish dishes like fritto misto (mixed, fried fish), and mackerel tartare; meat dishes including their speciality meatballs (pork and fennel or classic beef and pork); and pizette (mini pizzas) topped with the likes of spinach, parmesan and soft egg.
And obviously wash it all down with one of their Campari-based cocktails, either at your table or in their ruby-lit negroni bar downstairs. READ MORE
Details: 41 Beak St, W1F 9SB | Open daily 11.30am-11pm (10pm Sundays)
The Good Egg | Kingly Court
This Jewish deli-style joint serves Israeli food influenced by the street food vendors of Tel Aviv, from early ‘til late.
Power breakfast/brunch options like goat shawarma hash, and babka (sweet yeast cake) French toast with spiced custard, honeyed pumpkin seeds and house labneh are offset by a dinner menu boasting za’atar fried chicken with chilli honey; orange and juniper-braised octopus with chickpeas; and coriander and cumin-marinated mackerel.
They also have a bakery selling sweet and savoury pastries, a selection of exotic house softs like sumac and pomegranate lemonade; and a bar serving inventive shakes including a bone marrow old fashioned, a cardamom espresso martini and the Sazarak, which combines Wild Turkey bourbon, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, lemon, bitters and Arak – a Levantine anise spirit. READ MORE
Details: Ground Floor, Kingly Court, W1B 5PW | Open daily for breakfast to dinner
Le Bab | Kingly Court
Have you ever thought you just want to pack in your job as a chef at two Michelin starred Le Gavroche and start flogging gourmet kebabs?
Probably not, but you can be glad these three chefs did.
Expect robata-grilled meat on homemade flatbreads like corn-fed chicken shish, chicken ‘crackling’, and heritage carrot tops alongside the slightly less Friday-night roe deer adana, Jerusalem artichoke crisps and blackberry & chilli jam.
They’re as good sober as they are drunk (order a couple of Smokey sours – mescal, Laphroaig, lemon, agave – to test the theory), and they’re undoubtedly the prettiest kebabs you’ve ever seen. READ MORE
Details: Top Floor, Kingly Court, W1B 5PW | Open daily for lunch and dinner
Quo Vadis | Dean Street
This Soho stalwart is dripping in history. Formerly a notorious brothel and then home to Karl Marx, it finally became a restaurant in 1929.
What you can expect there now is a tad more calming than in its previous lifetimes. Stained glass windows and parquet flooring adorn the space, while the dishes they’re serving are British inspired and include smoked eel sandwiches; marinated venison haunch with apples, celery, celeriac, escarole and cobnuts; and lemon-cured hake with fennel velouté.
And what old school haunt wouldn’t be complete without a long, well-curated wine list? It’s broken down by country for you to peruse (or whisper behind when you see someone super-famous go upstairs to the members’ lounge). READ MORE
Details: 26-29 Dean St, W1D 3LL | Open for breakfast on weekdays, plus lunch and dinner Mon-Sat. Closed Sun.
Flat Iron | Beak Street
The Soho original of this forward-thinking, affordable-steak-for-the-masses restaurant (or perhaps now, culture).
The idea is simple: 200g of Flat Iron steak (from the shoulder of the cow) for £11, plus sides. They have a special that changes every now and then (a burger with béarnaise, a ribeye, rump, etc) but it’s the flat iron you’re here for – and it’s a recipe that’s proven so popular that they now have venues all over London, each with their own nuances.
This branch’s? A salted caramel mousse that’s whipped in a cream canister and tastes like Mars bar clouds. Do. Not. Miss.
Details: 17 Beak St, W1F 9RW | Open daily from 11.45am
Like eating out in Central London? Take a peek at the best restaurants in Covent Garden